"Tahmuras Defeats the Divs", Folio 23v from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp
Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020)
Painting attributed to Sultan Muhammad (active first half 16th century)
Folio from an illustrated manuscript
Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 11 1/8 (28.3 cm)
W. 7 5/16 in. (18.6 cm)
Entire Page: H. 18 1/2 in. (47 cm)
W. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm)
Mat: H. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
W. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
Tahmuras, shown here galloping across a meadow, defeated the divs (demons); in exchange for their lives, they taught him the art of writing. This work is attributed to Sultan Muhammad, the master painter and chief administrator of the first generation of artists of this manuscript. The humor of the divs’ ghastly faces and gestures and the painterly treatment of their spotty skin are typical of Sultan Muhammad’s style.
Inscription: In Persian in Nasta’liq script verses from the Shāhnma of Ferdowsī , story پادشاهي طهمورث سي سال بود The rule of Tahmuras was thirty years).
(Abu’l-Qasim Feardowsi,The Shāhnāmeh (The book of kings), ed, Djalal Khalqi- Muṭlagh, Mazda publishers in association with Bibliotheca Persica, Costa Mesa, California and New York, 1988, vol.1, p.37).
Shah Tahmasp, Iran (until 1568; gifted to Selim II); Sultan Selim II, Istanbul (from 1568); Sultan Selim III, Istanbul (by 1800); Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Paris (by 1903–d. 1934); his son, Baron Maurice de Rothschild, Paris and Pregny, near Geneva (by 1955–d. 1957); [ Stiebel Ltd., New York, until 1959; sold to Houghton]; Arthur A. Houghton Jr., New York (1959–70; gifted to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A King's Book of Kings: Persian Miniatures from Shah Tahmasp's Shahnama of 1528," May 4, 1972–December 31, 1972.
Welch, Stuart Cary. A King's Book of Kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. pp. 96-99, ill. pp. 97-99, folio 23v (color, b/w).
Dickson, Martin, and Stuart Cary Welch. The Houghton Shahnameh. Vol. vols. I & II. Cambridge, Mass. and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1981. vol. II, ill. pl. 10 (b/w).
Canby, Sheila R. "Five Centuries of Painting." In Persian Masters. Bombay: Marg Publications, 1990. p. 56, ill. fig. 1.
Grabar, Oleg. Mostly Miniatures: An introduction to Persian painting. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000. p. 145, ill. fig. 76 (color).
Barry, Mike, and Stuart Cary Welch. "et l'Enigme de Behzad de Herat (1465–1535)." In L'Art Figuratif en Islam Medieval. Paris: Flammarion, 2004. p. 365, ill. p. 365, folio 23v (color detail).
Canby, Sheila R. "The Persian Book of Kings." In The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Madrid, 2011. pp. 15, 30, ill. (color), folio 22v.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 135C, pp. 7, 202-208, ill. p. 205 (color).
Haidar, Navina, and Marika Sardar. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Symposia." In Sultans of the South: Art of India's Deccan Courts. Brugge, Belgium: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. p. 109, ill. fig. 5.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 146-147, ill. pl. 28 (color).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 136-137, ill. (color).
Canby, Sheila R. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. pp. 72, 332, ill. fig. 105 (color), full-page color ill. p. 72; detail p. 332.